Tigers 4, Astros 2

Jason Castro’s homer was a bright spot for the Houston Astros in

a 4-2 loss to a Detroit Tigers split squad on Sunday.

However, the injury news for the rest of the team wasn’t as

positive.

Center fielder Jordan Schafer and shortstop Jed Lowrie remained

off the field just five days before the Astros’ regular season

opener.

The Astros would not dismiss the possibility of one or both

players starting the season on the disabled list.

Schafer, who has a sprained left hand, and Lowrie, out with a

strained right thumb, were scheduled to bat first and second for

Houston.

The Astros wanted to get Schafer a couple of at-bats Sunday for

the first time in two weeks, but he experienced pain in his wrist

while taking batting practice and told manager Brad Mills he could

not swing.

”There’s no doubt that the anxiousness mounts each day,” Mills

said, ”because it shortens the at-bats that he’s going to get

before the season starts.”

Lowrie injured his thumb while sliding into second base on

Tuesday. He has not played since.

The Astros told Brett Wallace, their opening day first baseman a

year ago, that he will be sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma City to

start the season as a third baseman.

They also informed Castro, second baseman Jose Altuve,

outfielders J.D. Martinez and Brian Bogusevic and shortstop Marwin

Gonzalez that they will open the season on the major league roster

for the first time.

”It’s one of the fun things we get to do,” general manager

Jeff Luhnow said. ”We brought `em all into Brad’s office to let

them know. They were all thrilled, as you can imagine.”

Gonzalez, a 23-year-old Rule 5 acquisition, can play three

infield positions, but Mills called him ”a true shortstop” and he

might prove to be the Astros’ opening day shortstop if Lowrie goes

on the DL.

The likely starter in center field, if Schafer can’t play, would

be Bogusevic.

Castro, hitting .341 in the spring after missing the entire 2011

season due to knee surgery, hit his first spring home run for the

Astros’ only run off Detroit starter Doug Fister.

Jhonny Peralta hit a two-run homer off Houston starter Wandy

Rodriguez, who will pitch the season opener against the Colorado

Rockies.

Peralta drove in another run with a double in the sixth

inning.